WELL 04 — Mindfulness and Creative Writing

May 04, 2021|4:00pm

Writing, paired with mindfulness practice, can bring us back to ourselves and connect us to others, even during the most challenging of times. During this course, we will learn about and try on contemplative practices paired with creative explorations of past roles, present-moment sensory experience, future hopes and commitments, and fictional possibilities. Each session will pair mindfulness practice with step-by-step creative writing activities designed to make invention easy and available even for those with no previous writing experience, while those with an existing habit will gain new techniques for dropping into creative flow. Between live sessions, students will have the option to post their writing for peer support and participate in discussions about mindfulness in everyday life. The course will include guided seated meditations (mindfulness and loving-kindness), accessible mindful movement, “scratching” (a term choreographer Twyla Tharp coined to describe preparation for creative insight), the chance to try memoir, poetry, or fiction, collaborative writing, and reflective writing on core values. Each week the activities will focus on a single theme, including gratitude, joy, hope, compassion, and self-compassion. During each session, there will be an opportunity to choose an intention, to celebrate our common humanity by sharing writing or practicing mindful listening, and to reflect privately on the impact of our participation. The course goals include helping participants build resilience, creating a bridge between mindfulness and creativity, and fostering a community devoted to authenticity, kindness, and serious play.

Kelly McGonigal, Lecturer, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Kelly McGonigal’s research focuses on the benefits of mindfulness and compassion. In collaboration with Stanford CCARE, she co-authored the Stanford Compassion Cultivation Training course. She has led meditation and movement workshops and retreats around the world, and is the author of numerous books, including The Science of Compassion, The Upside of Stress, The Neuroscience of Change, and The Willpower Instinct. McGonigal received a PhD in psychology and the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching from Stanford.

Ammi Keller, Instructor, Stanford Continuing Studies Online Certificate Program in Novel Writing; Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Ammi Keller’s teaching focuses on the intersection of mindfulness and creative writing. Her writing appears in American Short Fiction, Joyland, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She has edited fiction, nonfiction, and poetry at Soft Skull Press and Tor/Forge Books, and has received residencies from the Norton Island Colony, the Lambda Literary Writers Retreat, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): May 4—Jun 1
Time: 4:00—5:30 pm (PT)
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